The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is granting new, temporary amnesty to more than 8,000 Syrians currently residing in the U.S., according to reports.
DHS’s decision lets affected Syrians remain on American soil for up to 18 months longer regardless of their legal status, The Washington Times said Monday.
“Syria’s lengthy civil conflict has resulted in high levels of food insecurity, limited access to water and medical care, and massive destruction of Syria’s infrastructure,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement announcing the new program.“Attacks against civilians, the use of chemical weapons and irregular warfare tactics, as well as forced conscription and use of child soldiers have intensified the humanitarian crisis.”
The Washington Times said the “temporary protected status” impacts Syrians who are in the U.S. as of Monday and may continue living here permanently.
The status lets such Syrians apply for work permits and other documents to live and work in America without fear of deportation.
Johnson’s order reportedly applies to 5,800 Syrians who were granted similar status under a 2012 program and 2,500 new arrivals lacking a more permanent status here.
The Washington Times added those eligible for temporary protected status could include any illegal immigrants from Syria who snuck into the U.S. or overstayed their visa expirations over the last four years.